UPDATE: The Armando Galarraga trade is official, reports Jason Beck. The Tigers get Kevin Eichhorn and lefty reliever Ryan Robowski. The Diamondbacks are responsible for all of Galarraga’s salry.
12:28 PM: The Galarraga-to-Arizona trade has gone from talks to “likely” to “on the verge” of happening according to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. The trade could be done today. The Tigers will get 20-year-old right-hander Kevin Eichhorn and “another player” in return, according to Gilbert’s source.
9:49 AM, Sunday: Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski told Jason Beck of MLB.com on Saturday that right-hander Armando Galarraga, who was recently designated for assignment, was “likely” going to be traded within the next several days. Now a suitor has been identified.
According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, the Diamondbacks are making a “strong push” to land Galarraga and have discussed a trade involving 20-year-old righty Kevin Eichhorn.
Galarraga, like most pitchers, would probably do well in a move from the American League to the National League, and the Diamondbacks would have no trouble squeezing him into the back end of their rotation. He’s not a dominant starting pitcher, but he has been highly effective for stretches of his career and a change of scenery might do him some good.
Eichhorn, the prospect who could be headed to the Tigers, is a 20-year-old third-round selection from the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft. He hasn’t made it out of Single-A yet and has an unremarkable 4.80 ERA and 1.31 WHIP over 105 minor league innings. His strikeout rates have been nice, but the righty is a long way from prospect leaderboards and even further from the major leagues.
Last week it was widely speculated that Shohei Otani, the highly-touted Japanese pitcher/designated hitter who stars for the Nippon Ham Fighters, would not come to the United States to play due to changes in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The upshot: the new CBA caps money available to international free agents under age 25 at $5-6 million and Otani, 22, would be worth way more than that, so why take the pay cut?
Now, however, Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that the Fighters are set to post Shotei Otani following the 2017 season. Passan says that his sources have told him that there are potential ways around the limit on spending for under-25 players like Shohei Otani and he links a Japanese article from Sponichi which says the Fighters would post him after the 2017 season.
It’d be interesting to see what that loophole is. Without knowing the exact terms of the CBA on this score it’s impossible to know, but one possibility is that there are different rules applicable to those with professional experience in other countries as opposed to amateur free agents.
Whatever the case, the notion that we could see Otani in the U.S. at age 23 or 24 is pretty exciting.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.